Playing & Training

How to Become a Rugby Coach: Passing on Your Passion For Rugby

Rugby team in huddle

The position of rugby coach is incredibly important to the health of the game, with many professional players ever thankful for that one person who mentored them at the very start.

You might be a parent whose child loves rugby, or a former player looking to turn their love of the oval ball into a career, or even a current player who wants to give something back and/or net some extra income.

It may also be that you wish to cross codes, playing union but learning to coach league, or vice versa – learning how to teach others the intricacies of rugby will always improve your own game awareness and strategy. Whatever your circumstances, rugby coaching is a rewarding endeavour for those committed to passing your passion onto other rugby devotees.

Are you ready for rugby?

Before working on your rugby coaching qualifications, you will need to attend the RFU’s three-hour IRB Start Coaching Rugby Ready course. There are no exams or coursework – ideal if you’re a busy parent or have an ongoing job – but the few hours will show you how to handle a safe, fun practical session and how to pass on contact and scrum skills. The rugby coaching starts here.

Q is for qualifications

The next step requires a bit more commitment on your part, certainly in terms of your time. The Level 1 coaching certificate takes in the theory and practice of rugby coaching over two–and-a-half days and will equip you for teaching handling skills, tackling, line-out throws and support techniques, among many other practical skills.

There is an assessment and a multiple-choice test before you receive your Level 1 certificate, but you’ll be allowed to take on certain coaching responsibilities at club level, so it’s well worth it.

Taking it to a higher level

Your passion for rugby and your knowledge of its various tactics, as well as your Level 1 coaching certificate, have taken you this far – now is the time to continue with your qualifications through the various levels from 1 to 4, while undertaking certain specialist courses.

It might be that, as a parent of a keen rugby player, you wish to teach children, or that, as a current player in the back five, you wish to earn your stripes as an attack coach. All coaches who attend and pass either a Level 1, 2, 3 or 4 qualification receive a coach licence. After the necessary Criminal Records Bureau check and terms and conditions agreements, the licence lasts for three years before it must be renewed.

The RFU is right for you

The professional governing body is well aware of how fully the discipline of rugby coaching impacts on the sport as a whole. It is one of the most important driving forces in getting people, especially youngsters, involved and indeed keeping their interest in rugby.

So, the RFU’s My Rugby Academy tool has been set up to guide you in the direction of the courses that most appeal to you and best fit your existing skillsets. The Coaching Development Matrix will help you to fulfil your coaching potential.

The online course booking system allows you to sort out those courses that are held next to you, and at a time that allows you to take care of extra responsibilities, be that parenting, your job or your playing commitments.

Work out what is right for you

It may be that you want to coach junior tag rugby on a weekend afternoon, or perhaps you want to be the defence coach at a professional club – either way, it really pays to have a good, long think about where to put your passion, even before the excellent RFU coaching site asks the question.

Although the same number of coaching disciplines (technical, tactical, mental and so on) are vital across all skill levels in rugby, you should have a good idea of which area you wish to specialise in, and what it is that draws you to the oval ball.

You can rest assured that you’ll receive all the backing you could possibly require on your rugby-coaching journey.



Writer and expert